1. NIBBLING ON YOUR CUTICLES
Why It’s a No-No: Torn cuticles lead to hangnails and infections, says Jessica Vartoughian, owner of nail clinic in Los Angeles.
Rehab: Keep the skin around your nails moisturised, says Vartoughian. ‘If it’s hydrated, you’ll have fewer snags and be less tempted to pick at it.’ Rub a thick cream or oil into your cuticles daily and massage them with an exfoliator every few days. Also, push overgrown skin back with a cuticle stone after showering, when they’re soft. You can also try a bitter-tasting nail polish designed to discourage the habit.
2. SWAPPING YOUR HAIR COLOUR FREQUENTLY
Why It’s a No-No: Trading your hair tint occasionally is okay, but dyeing it too often can make it weak and lead to an identity crisis. Sure, celebrities constantly switch up their hair hue, but they do it for a movie or to capture attention on the red carpet. And they put in major money and extra TLC to undo or hide the damage.
Rehab: First, try diverting your desire for novelty from hair colour to makeup, since it’s easier to experiment with lipstick and eye shadow on a weekly basis. And when you get to the point that you just have to colour your coif, take this advice from Pantene celebrity colourist Rita Hazan: Be a smart blond. Bleach is the most damaging and drying ingredient. It’s okay to hit the bottle once every six weeks if you’re only brightening up a shade or two. lf you want to be lighter than that, use a bleaching kit once a month, going one level blonder each time until you reach your desired hue. Going darker is less damaging. Adding colour to your hair isn’t as stressful to your strands since you aren’t stripping away any natural pigment. You can use a permanent dye every four weeks and an ammonia-free semipermanent formula every three weeks. Use a conditioning regimen. Post-colour, apply the kit’s deep conditioner. Also, use a hair mask twice a week.
3. GOING TO BED WITHOUT WASHING YOUR FACE
Why It’s a No-No: Sleeping with mascara and eye makeup on can cause you to wake up with puffy bags and maybe even an infection, says celebrity dermatologist Dr Patricia Wexler. And layers of foundation, concealer and blush will stop your skin from breathing and clog up your pores, making your complexion acne-prone and dull-looking. Even if you didn’t wear makeup during the day, your skin accumulates oil and dirt, both of which can also lead to pimples if not washed away in the evening.
Rehab: Keep a pack of premoistened face wipes next to your bed. This way, no matter how tired you are (or how many cocktails you’ve had), you can swipe away your makeup in seconds, without rinsing.
4. FAKE-BAKING IN A TANNING BED
Why It’s a No-No: Ultraviolet-A rays (the kind emitted primarily from tanning-bed bulbs) are called aging rays for a reason – they penetrate your connective tissue, causing premature aging and the proliferation of free radicals. Plus, UVA rays have been linked to skin cancer and can suppress your immune system, says Dr. Wexler.
Rehab: It’s so easy to fake a safe and believable tan from a bottle, thanks to the latest body lotions that are spiked with just a hint of self-tanner. But unlike regular moisturisers, apply this variety to totally dry skin, since excess water can cause the colour to develop unevenly, says Cindy Barshop, owner of a beauty salon. After 24 hours, assess your glow. lf you’re craving a more golden look, rub on another coat, and repeat daily until you reach your desired level of bronze.
5. TORTURING YOUR HAIR WITH HEAT
Why It’s a No-No: Wielding a hair dryer, curling iron, or flatiron daily (or a combo of any of the above) will dry out your locks, leaving them dull, frizzy, and weak, says Joico artist Anthony Morrison, owner of the Londoner Salon in Los Angeles.
Rehab: While blowdrying, stick to a medium heat and speed setting and keep the nozzle a few inches away from your hair, says Morrison. When using a flatiron, quickly slide the iron down a section of hair in one smooth motion. Any pauses along the way will create dents that will require another run-through with the iron to fix. If you’re curling your hair, release the coiled section after no more than five seconds. It’s also a good idea to keep your heat-styling sessions to a minimum, only blasting your locks with a dryer a couple of times a week instead of daily. When you wash your hair, use a moisturizing shampoo to keep strands supple.
6. OVERBLEACHING YOUR TEETH
Why It’s a No-No: Your pearly whites can only get so bright, no matter how many times you bleach them, so any treatments you do after reaching your maximum level of whiteness (they shouldn’t be bluish or whiter than the whites of your eyes) are more hurtful than helpful, says Cyrus Tahmasebi, a dentist with BriteSmile. ‘Constantly applying hydrogen peroxide to your teeth can leave them ultrasensitive and prone to chipping.’
Rehab: If you’re going to a professional, you can expect your teeth to whiten up about eight to nine shades (think the subtle difference between colours of paint). On the other hand, if you’re using an at-home kit, you’ll probably see about a four-shade improvement. Be sure to follow the instructions on the box carefully, and don’t re-bleach until at least six months later, says Dr. Tahmasebi.
7. POPPING YOUR PIMPLES
Why It’s a No-No: You should maintain a strict hands-off policy when it comes to your pimples. Can’t resist? How’s this for motivation: Messing with a pimple can extend its staying power to seven to 10 days instead of the normal two to three, since the dirt from your fingers can force bacteria into your pores and cause an infection, says Dr. Wexler.
Rehab: Practice patience and apply either a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid potion twice daily – in three days, it should be clear. In the meantime, squirt a cotton swab with redness-reducing eyedrops, then place it on your pimple. Follow with a dab of concealer.